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"Gifted" Labeling

Is it a good thing or not to have your child labeled "gifted"?

I never thought much about it but the mom of one of my friend buddies recently told me that last year, her son "missed gifted " by one point and she requested that he be re-tested. He was and he is.

Then I was talking to the mother of another one of my son's friends and she was explaining that her boy was bored in school and had recently (per her request) started to receive "extra" challenge-type of work, which he likes. I asked her if he had been tested for the "gifted" program, and she said "we don't want him labeled as 'gifted' because it's as much of a negative label as "special ed, etc."...and I was surprised.

I just always thought gifted programs were for the cream of the crop...the brightest of the bunch.
Now I'm confused.

So...do you have a "gifted" child?
If so, what does that mean to him/her/school experience?
What does a "gifted" kid's day look like.
Is it a good thing or not?

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My daughter is in kindergarten and her teachers/admin asked if they could test her IQ b/c she was reading at such a high level so quickly. I told them no. I was labeled "gifted" as a child and spent my whole school career being told I wasn't "Living Up to My Potential." I'd rather have her focus on making friends and the other fun things that happen in school. She's so young! I believe in letting her be a kid while she's a kid. If my child seems to not be challenged in class, her teacher will let her work on things that are more challenging. Just my opinion on how I raise my child. How others raise their children is completely up to them.

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even if a kid is 'labeled'... I feel it is up to the parent(s), to ALSO teach their child, what that 'label' may mean... and in context to their own child... and developing their OWN, self-identity.
Thus teaching them, that in the world there are 'descriptive' terms.... but it does NOT 'define' you.
Because, ULTIMATELY... it is 'how' a parent raises their child, to be self-aware and how to develop.... being themselves. NO matter what.
Thus, a person is not 'constrained' nor dictated to, by the 'label.' And that the child, is taught... to just be themselves. To be who THEY are, as a person.
Thus, being, hopefully, well-rounded.
So that the child is ultimately, themselves. Not what the 'label' dictates to them.
That is the parents, role. In developing their child.

all the best,
Susan

3 moms found this helpful

My son is gifted.
It means he takes gifted classes in school and he still has to be patient when they teach at the pace of the slowest kid in the class.
They get a few extra projects than the core kids get but the classes still move at the same pace.
In school they introduce a subject on Monday, review it on Tuesday and my son is ready for Fridays quiz on Wednesday, but they spend 2 more days going over it some more.
It's no wonder the bright kids are bored out of their minds.
I keep him reading as many books as he wants (he regularly wins awards for Accelerated Reading points) and try to take him to all the local museums as often as possible.
Anything he wants to learn about, I'll help him look it up and learn all he wants to learn about it.
He's started taking clarinet this year (he's first chair) and he enjoys band activities and taekwondo.
I try not to let the school limit his learning experience and so far it's working fine.
He's finishing 6th grade this year and we've got 6 more years to go!

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My daughter is in kindergarten and her teachers/admin asked if they could test her IQ b/c she was reading at such a high level so quickly. I told them no. I was labeled "gifted" as a child and spent my whole school career being told I wasn't "Living Up to My Potential." I'd rather have her focus on making friends and the other fun things that happen in school. She's so young! I believe in letting her be a kid while she's a kid. If my child seems to not be challenged in class, her teacher will let her work on things that are more challenging. Just my opinion on how I raise my child. How others raise their children is completely up to them.

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To me, gifted is the child who can sit at a piano and create great music,
etc. In todays world, gifted is just a smart kid. Personally, I would not label
my kid gifted. Why put more pressure on him. Any good teacher will
know what to do with a child who is bright.+

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Most kids that are labeled as gifted are just kids that have parents that have pushed them. It is not that there is anything special about the child compared to other children, and I agree that any kind of label can be bad when it comes to kids. I think the other mom is approaching it right by making sure her child is challenged by his school work while not singling him out. I honestly think the parents that seek out the "gifted" title are doing it for themselves, to make themselves feel special somehow, not for the benefit of the kids.

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My daughter recently started attending the gifted and talented class at her school. She is in 3rd grade. In this school, that means she is in a special class for 40 minutes twice a week. She misses the time that her class teacher reads to the kids. Instead she gets to do things like come up with and work on inventions and other activities to stimulate her creativity. To get in the class, she scored at a very high level on a test designed to assess creativity and ability to think - not math or reading. She is also in the accelerated math class, but is about average for her grade level in reading.

I certainly don't agree that to have a child attend any type of program for gifted children should be a negative label. I wish there had been a program like this when I was in elementary school and spent hours staring out the window bored.

I also wish parents would be and could be as vocally proud of their children succeeding and excelling in the classroom as they are when they excell on the sports field...

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I haven't read all the answers, so this may be (hopefully, anyway) a repeat. Gifted and smart are not the same thing. As a teacher who has GATE (gifted and talented education) training, I have taught a number of 'GATE' students, but only a handful have truly been gifted (in my opinion, this is a flaw in the way students are identified). A student who excels in school, gets straight A's, etc. is not necessarily gifted. In fact, a gifted child can be the one with failing grades. To put it simply, a gifted child is one that often thinks outside the box. Unlike Special Education which has so many laws to abide by, gifted education can look different (or even be nonexistant) depending on where you are. In my district, students are clustered into groups on 5-8 and are taught in the regular classroom by a GATE trained teacher. They are not supposed to receive more work, but differentiated work. In fact, I teach all my students the same way for the majority of the day, but by using the "GATE" startegies, the truly gifted children take that material to a different level. I don't know if this is the best way to teacher our gifted kids, but this is how I was trained and what I've experienced. If you think your child may be gifted, contact your school or district office and ask how students are tested and what services they receive, then decide it it's a good match for your child.

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I was "labeled" gifted when I was in school. My eldest brother was too. It was a "good" label then.
My daughter is "labeled" gifted now. And I pushed to get her tested as soon as possible when she entered public school for 3rd grade, because she was not being challenged by the regular curriculum. She is in a one day a week pull-out program like another poster mentioned. And she LOVES it.

The thing with gifted isn't just that the kids are smart. All kids can be smart and all kids can learn. One of the differences is that gifted kids (academically gifted, that is) do not require the number of repetitions to learn something new that a "non"gifted child would. So when their math teacher is showing them long division for the umpteenth time b/c half the class still hasn't quite got it yet, the gifted student picked it up on the second time it was explained and is now bored stiff b/c they already grasp the entire concept and are ready to move on to something else.
Gifted classes have special teachers just like "special ed" classes. Because they do require different techniques and methodologies more catered to the individuals than a regular classroom provides, just like a spec. ed class in a lot of respects. They ARE special ed students...just usually at the opposite end of the spectrum. And so many times are overlooked. Many gifted kids get in trouble at school b/c they find other things to entertain themselves when they are bored with the subject matter. Either talking, or class clown, or other misbehavior.
It is wonderful to have my daughter in a gifted class that has a teacher working diligently to bring out her potential, rather than not giving her much time b/c she doesn't HAVE to--- the kid that needs help with his math or reading needs her more. She has been able (thru gifted classes) to go on several extra field trips that were for the gifted students only. Next fall they will go overnight for 2 nights to Kennedy Space Center for example. It is a small group and obviously not something the school could offer to the entire student population, nor could Kennedy offer that wide of an audience the opportunity to come.

There is something your friend may not have considered (unless she is homeschooling) and that is that having a child who is gifted who is NOT receiving "services" is at a disadvantage. They will be held back from achieving what they can in some cases, and many many things will be so easy for them that they will never be forced to learn skills that other students must to succeed daily at school-- like studying. Then one day, they'll need that skill, and guess what? They'll fail because they don't know how. And they will blame themselves and wonder why they couldn't do the work. And they'll quit, because, gosh, they are so smart but they couldn't do that? They must not be able.
Being labeled gifted isn't really the problem, imho. The problem is when gifted kids are told repeatedly how "smart" they are. Like it is a state of being. When they are praised for BEING so smart when they make an A on something. They need to be praised for their hard work--just like any other student who worked hard at something--even if they only earned a B. Trust me when I say that they know whether they had to work at something or not. And when they are praised for something that took no effort, they learn that they don't have to make an effort at much of anything.
I praise my daughter a lot, but not for being smart. She had no part in that, and she knows it. She was born with a very well functioning brain. She didn't cause it. I praise her for specifics that I see her work hard at, or at some viewpoint she used in her art or opinion or choices she is making in her relationships, etc.

Kids that are extremely gifted sometimes have social problems due to being so advanced academically, and being a little less "people smart" socially. And other kids can label them as well (teacher's pet, the smart kid, geek, etc).

My gifted kid's day doesn't look that much different than any other kid's day, usually. Except that my gifted kid is always on the lookout for a new experience and can self-entertain WAY more easily than other kids. She'll read, play the piano, draw, paint, exercise (really!) or whatever. She gets tired of the TV quickly. And she absolutely LOVES word games or puzzles and things like Jeopardy! (my child is not quite 10 yrs old).
Is that different than other kids? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is important to remember that all gifted kids are not the same. They are still individuals. Some are gifted in non-academic areas (painting/sculpting/drawing/music/dance/building things, etc.) and some are gifted in academics in particular, and some are gifted in several areas. And some have problems with things like dyslexia and ADHD, too. And their interests, like other kids, often follow their natural talents. They aren't super smart robots. And their personalities vary just like anyone else's.

I have never really understood the idea of keeping your child OUT of gifted classes if they meet the standards. But I also don't understand trying to have your child placed in gifted classes if they don't meet them. That just seems like setting your child up to feel like they are less than they should be. As the expectations for them are going to be a lot different than expectations in a standard classroom.

I have noticed that there seems to be a much stronger self-motivation in gifted kids. My daughter, for example (and I know many others like her), pushed ME to teach her to read. When she was 3. And she did learn and read everything put in front of her (by age 4)-- or she'd go find her own (her older brother's science text books!). She also contrived to have her older brother (3 yrs older) teach her to write in cursive (she wasn't quite 5) (they learned it in kindergarten in the private school they were enrolled in). She LOVES foreign language as well. She wants to learn EVERYTHING. Most kids (generally speaking) are pretty content with playing in their spare time. My child begged me to buy summer bridge workbooks for her. That she would do on her own (self taught herself how to carry digits in math) at night, in the car, wherever/whenever.

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I have a gifted teacher's certification, and I teach AP classes, so I am pretty good at recognizing gifted kids. The counselors and teachers at both of my sons' schools have pushed and pushed to have them tested. I am positive my oldest is gifted, and pretty sure my youngest is though he may just be very smart - there is a difference. We have opted not to test them for two reasons. One is that I don't like the way they run the gifted program in the district where our boys attend school, and the other is that my youngest would put way too much pressure on himself if he ever knew that he was labeled that way. He puts enough pressure on himself as it is. Our main concern is that both boys are challenged appropriately. I don't see a need to label them at this point.

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D., there are parameters for qualifying for the designation of gifted. Perhaps it depends on the state - I'm not sure. But in elementary school is where it really starts and can make the biggest difference. In our experience in PA, testing had to measure 130 IQ. My older son qualified for IQ testing based on his OLSAT testing in first grade. (That score "suggested" that he would possibly test high on subsequent IQ testing.) He did score above the 130 a year later when he took the test, and enjoyed the gifted pull-out class. He also was able to go into higher level math quicker because of it.

At the end of his 4th grade year, we went overseas where the school was much harder, and having the scores that we could share with that private school made it so we could get him in (my younger son who was just finishing first grade was accepted so that he could be with his brother.)

I have NEVER been sorry for that testing. It served us and my son well. Regarding your friend, I have to say that she is being short-sighted. The more her son can get from the school above the regular program, WHATEVER it is, the better he will do, and the less bored he will be. In addition, his standardized testing will be better, which will help determine where he is placed in middle school, and by default, first year of high school. If his high school has an honors program and AP program, he NEEDS the most he can get EARLY ON so that firstly, he can get into honors and/or AP. And secondly, he needs to be used to a higher standard of learning and working early on so that he doesn't fall on his face in high school or be totally overwhelmed being in higher level classes.

Here's what honors and AP classes will do for her son later down the line:

*harder classes translate into higher level learning and better critical thinking skills
*prep for college in more reading, more writing, and more fully developed projects, including computer skill work
*extra help on his GPA because it's harder to get higher grades in a harder class
*Higher class rank standing which is important with so much competition
*A much better looking resume for colleges - a college or university is much more interested in kids who are in honors classes or AP (IB) classes than regular classes
*College credit for AP or IB classes - most colleges give course hours credit for a score of either 4 or 5 on the AP exams. That can translate into their son getting to graduate earlier, costing your friend a lot less money to send him to college, OR allow him to take classes that are more "rounded" than just courses that are required in his 4 years.
*Being a whole lot more prepared for college level work than regular high school courses prepare a student, especially a harder college or university
*Scholarship money available from colleges that want higher level students. My own son is certainly proof of that.

There are no downsides, period. I hope she will figure that out soon, regardless of the stepmom, who evidently has an agenda.

D.

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I hate the term "gifted." I don't know why I hate it, but it seems like such a stupid term. "Gifted" to me means that your kid is smart enough to skip a couple of grades, take high school math in 4th grade and go to MIT or CalTech at 15. Or is a music prodigy. Or is working in an FBI crime lab cracking computer code in her early 20s. Clearly most kids in an average public school "gifted and talented" program are NOT all that gifted or talented - they're just advanced.

Anyway, the schools I went to didn't have G&T programs. If you finished 20 minutes worth of classwork in 5, you could read a book or help another student or go down to the principal's office and help the secretary make photo copies or type newsletters. In grades 7 & 8 we split into levels and had the "A" group and the "B" group. In high school, you were in either honors or college prep, and AP if available. That was it, and that was enough for us.

In my kids' schools, there is no differentiation until middle school, when Honors classes are available. There are a few truly gifted students whose needs are handled on an individual basis. We have a 7th grader taking 11th grade math, and I know that there are a couple of high school students taking classes at a local college. I don't think that the "G&T" label is necessary or helpful. If school is easy for you, you don't need a label to tell you that.

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I have not had to cross that bridge with my son yet, but I was tested for gifted and talented when I was a kid. I blew the test on purpose because it would have meant that my school experience was: extra classes after school, summer school, and lots of extra home work which seemed like a punishment! I just wanted to play with my friends after school and be normal. My husband was labeled G&T when he was a kid. He loved the extra classes and didn't mind the extra work. So - is it good? I think it depends on the kid.
My plan with my own child is encouraging him to get involved with activities he is interested in and wants to do.

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Hi D.,

At my twins' school, we don't refer it to the "gifted" kids. My twins are in an enrichment classroom for 45 minutes daily. (3 or 4 kids from each of the 3rd grade rooms, simply get up and go see their "TDP" teacher for that time.)

TDP stands for Talent and Development Program. I like that the other kids don't know what it stands for, they just know it's time for a few kids to leave to go see their TDP teacher. I like that the other kids don't know that TDP stands for something because I wouldn't want them to think that they are not talented. I think to use the word gifted is a way of saying..." Hey... these kids are better than you because they are gifted." I never use the word gifted nor have I told anyone except the strangers on Mamapedia, my parents and inlaws that they are in TDP. (Oh and a cousin and my best friend because it came up in conversation since their children are very bright.)

I also don't like the bumper stickers that say "My kid is an honor student at ____________ school." I am pretty sure by the way things are going that my twins will be on the honor roll, when they start doing that in middle school. Moms that feel differently do not need to PM me that you are proud of your child and that's why you display the bumper sticker. (I know that's your choice. I am just sharing my opinion.) I am proud of my children but I don't go telling others about their high scores and about getting all A's to my friends. Now if a parent seems to be prying, I will say, "Oh they did very well on __________________ and I am so proud of them."

I do have to say, though, that I am happy that my kids are challenged for at least 45 minutes a day in TDP. (I said at least because I would hope they are challenged from time to time in their regular classrooms.) They have caring teachers who are dedicated to their career, however, my children often get bored in their classrooms. They comprehend the material easily and then have to sit through the teacher reviewing it again and again. They also get bored when the classes do read alouds with the whole class. The reason they do is because they want to go ahead and keep reading. They are learning to be more patient though, by waiting for the struggling readers to read and for the teacher to review
.
Yes, I can see how positive labeling can be just as bad as negative labeling. I think that even though the kids don't know what TDP stands for, they all know what type of kids are leaving. (They are privy to who is struggling with their work because they get pulled out to see Mrs. W. and those who excel get pulled out to see Mrs. S.) I try to make positive comments about their actions instead of using positive adjectives to describe them as a people. I am pleased that they are doing very well in school. However, I am even more pleased that they are kids of good character.

Years ago when I taught elementary school, a teacher had a poster up that said, "All children are gifted. They just open their gifts differently."

Where I worked, they did refer it to the "Gifted Room." If they forgot to get up to go while I was teaching, sometimes I'd hear another child say, "It's time to go see Mrs. T." I liked hearing that because I personally didn't refer to it as the gifted kids or the gifted kids. (So my word choice paid off.) My kids don't need reminders because they truly enjoy their time in the TDP room and they often tell me that's the best part about school.

-J.

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I chose not to have my son tested. His friends were and are in the special class.

For my son, he is strong in writing, reading and comprehension. He is not strong in math. For me, we had enough problems getting him to complete and understand his normal classwork. The prospect of him missing regular class to have 'specials' plus the extra work was just not in the cards.

There have been some hurt feelings about why isn't he smart enough to be in that class. I told him you are, explained what I did here, and he sort of got it. He didn't totally get it until one day an assignment was due that was complicated and he didn't know about. Turns out it was for the 'specials' and he didn't need to do it. 'Whew! I'm glad I'm not in that class!'

Our school also reevaluates kids every 6m. There are a few that were getting behind in the regular classwork and either their parent or the program took them out of the class. I think that is almost worse. The kid then has to explain why they aren't in the class anymore....

I think the program has a place, but just like when you are labelled 'challenged', once you are labelled 'gifted', there is a different set of rules and expectations.

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Both my kids tested with scores that have them labeled as "gifted" So that means they were eligible to apply to the highly rated special "gifted" school in our district. We opted to not apply, as we felt they were happy and appropriately challenged in their neighborhood school. I don't think they would have enjoyed and thrived in a much larger school with more pressure and competition. Not a fit for us. To me it feels like a lot of parents place a lot of emphasis on the whole "gifted" label. I agree with J. B. To me, it's very over-used. The average, bright kid who scores well on one particular test in kindergarten or 2nd grade is "gifted." Really? I don't think so. 50% of the kindergarteners in our school test "gifted" No, I don't like that we use that label at all. One of my favorite teachers, my older DD's kindergarten teacher did not like that label either, and I share her belief that ALL kids have gifts and talents.

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I thought the point was to offer them an advanced & diverse curriculum not to create an identity.

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In the city of Chicago they have 2 different "programs" GIFTED programs and CLASSICAL programs.

CLASSICAL programs is when your child retains information above their standard grade/age level. So, if your kindergartener is reading chapter books AND doing math AND writing AND is socially mature all at about a 1st or 2nd grade level then they would be considered for the CLASSICAL program. The CLASSICAL program would KEEP them in Kindergarten but they work at a curriculum that is 18 months ahead of the standard Chicago Public School curriculum. - so kids who enter Kindergarten are working on the EXACT same curriculum that a neighorhood class would work on at Christmas of of 1st grade.
You have to test into this program and it's not pull-out. ALL the kids in your class will be (generally) at the same level in everything. The test is math, english, reading etc.

GIFTED programs work with kids who are considered 'gifted'. The testing for this program is an IQ test, a critical thinking skills test, logical reasoning test (patterns, inference, consequences). However, 'gifted' kids (at least by the Chicago Public Schools definition is a kid whose learning development is not BALANCED. So, the gifted curiculum is 18 months above the standard Chicago Public School curiculum, but is DIFFERENTIATED for each kid. Basically, you go deeper into each subject. Some kids will have skills 18 months above in math, but may be behind in reading or language development. and some kids will be the opposite. So the teacher has to basically individualize the curiculum for each kid. Most definitely gifted kids tend to be sensitive and 'rule' oriented, but creative at the same time.

My daughter was in a gifted class and I ended up taking her out beginning in 4th grade and moving her to a Montessori school. MUCH better fit for her. She was REALLY unbalanced - she was tested for a learning disability in 2nd grade. Her math was at a 7.3 (7th grade 3rd month) and her reading was a .09 (PRE-kindergarten), so she was basically failing everything because she wasn't comprehending the word problems for math, reading was a nightmare and she started having meltdowns. We got through 3rd grade with an IEP as I looked for where the best fit would be.

I LOVE her montessori school. It's geared toward individual learning, so she gets the attention she needs but has developed self-motivation to learn instead of it being something she dreads to 'keep up' with the kids in her class. Now she is WAY above in most areas, because she is motivated to seek out the info.

I think it depends on the program. Chicago public schools are in such disarray, that for a kid who is probably at grade level in Wisconsin (or one of the states with really good schools) they will be frustrated at what is considered grade level. My daughter's work when she was in 3rd grade (so 18 months above grade level in Chicago - or middle of 4th grade) and the work her step-sister was doing in 3rd grade in Oklahoma were THE EXACT SAME work (some of the books and worksheets were even the same books for 4th grade Chicago and 3rd grade Oklahoma). If she'd been in a neighborhood class can you imagine how bored those kids who can process the info would be????? So, the gifted school are MUCH needed here in Chicago.

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even if a kid is 'labeled'... I feel it is up to the parent(s), to ALSO teach their child, what that 'label' may mean... and in context to their own child... and developing their OWN, self-identity.
Thus teaching them, that in the world there are 'descriptive' terms.... but it does NOT 'define' you.
Because, ULTIMATELY... it is 'how' a parent raises their child, to be self-aware and how to develop.... being themselves. NO matter what.
Thus, a person is not 'constrained' nor dictated to, by the 'label.' And that the child, is taught... to just be themselves. To be who THEY are, as a person.
Thus, being, hopefully, well-rounded.
So that the child is ultimately, themselves. Not what the 'label' dictates to them.
That is the parents, role. In developing their child.

all the best,
Susan

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At our daughters school all of the kids are taught at the "Gifted level". All of the teachers on campus are required to have the training.

So here it does not make any difference.
I did not request the testing because we would not need it for any type of special placement.

She was always an outstanding student and still is.

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I also was in the 'GATE' program in school growing up in CA. I liked it, I excelled in Math and Spelling and won many an awards for both. Back in the day, we stayed with the regular class but got pulled out for Math and puzzles and such and went to state tournaments and spelling Bees. In my day, it was a good thing. By the time I was a Freshman in HS I had completed all my necessary Math requirements for all of HS, so that cool! I have no clue what being 'labeled' as gifted means these days?

~My oldest is in 1st grade right now and at our last parent/teacher program the teacher informed us that our son got a perfect report card and is above and beyond in all areas that they test or grade and is WAY above in both Math and Spelling/Reading Comp, so much so that he has maxed out in learning for the year, she wont be testing his math or spelling/reading comp (he still does all the work just wont be pulled to the side anymore to get the 1:1 testing that they do to monitor the kids' levels) and this is the first year that they bring in a special teacher and they test ALL the kids with logic puzzles and such for the 'Gifted' programs, they test again in 2nd grade and then again in 3rd grade and if and only if your child tested high on all 3 tests do they even start to talk about moving up to more advanced learning.

All I know is that if my child gets placed in the 'gifted' category so be it, if not oh well. I do not want him to be bored and would like him to continue to be challenged all through the year not just stop when he has hit the ceiling so to speak for that grade, like they did to him this year. That Parent/Teacher conference was in April...that means my son would have spent the last 3 months of school not be challenged and I think that is a bit unacceptable.

*The teacher's reasoning about stopping the testing is that he is already above where he needs to be at the start of 3rd grade and her time would be better spent working with those kids who are struggling...which I completely understand and agree with but at the same time I think this is a little one sided?

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There are different levels of "Giftedness"

There is profoundly gifted, those are the kids that are headed to MENSA and ones with IQ's over 160. They are not neccessarily the most mature or the best violinists, but they are fast learners and dont; usually need to be shown things more than once or twice.

THere is the highly gifted, those who are very "smart" according to the rest of the world. They usually can do the higher level work in most subjects.

HTere is the gifted child who is working at a higher grade level than her peers in one or more subjects.

There are the art/music gifted, who may not be academically inclined but may have a brilliant art or musical mind.

Giftedness does not always equal success. Children who are gifted, truly academically profoundly gifted are very rare. The down fall with these kids is that most of the teachers, most of society, is not functioning at the speed at which these kids can function. They get bored, burn out, things become stupid so why try.
Labeling only lets the school know where to put them. It does offer some advantages, allowing you the opportunity to demand more challenging work. At the high school level this gets them into the AP classes faster. It gets them into the higher math classes in middle school.
It also gets them more work that is not always more challenging.

It depends on the child if I would have them labeled or not. I have four. They have all been tested. My third is "borderline" gifted work is too much for her. For my 2nd it wasn't enough.

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My kids aren't in school yet, so there hasn't been any testing. I'm hoping that they do test into the gifted program, because my husband and I were both in gifted programs and feel like we had great experiences. Not all my classes were GT or AP, so I was able to compare the gifted versus non classes. In my school at least, the best teachers were teaching the GT and AP kids.
I don't think it's a negative label. I was glad to be one of the "smart kids." Yes, of course, I just want my own kids to be where they are happy and doing their best. I want them to find the best fit for their education. And I hope that the best fit is in a gifted program since I got so much out of mine.
I'd be interested to know what that other mom's negative experiences were with the gifted program? Or maybe, just maybe, he WAS tested and was not accepted into the program?

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I had mine tested last year but she didn't make it into the program.Our gifted students go one day a week to a different school for the day and that is it. I am going to use a public online home school program next year and see if that challenges her a little more. She was not being challenged enough in school and complained all year about how easy the work was.

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My son is gifted.
It means he takes gifted classes in school and he still has to be patient when they teach at the pace of the slowest kid in the class.
They get a few extra projects than the core kids get but the classes still move at the same pace.
In school they introduce a subject on Monday, review it on Tuesday and my son is ready for Fridays quiz on Wednesday, but they spend 2 more days going over it some more.
It's no wonder the bright kids are bored out of their minds.
I keep him reading as many books as he wants (he regularly wins awards for Accelerated Reading points) and try to take him to all the local museums as often as possible.
Anything he wants to learn about, I'll help him look it up and learn all he wants to learn about it.
He's started taking clarinet this year (he's first chair) and he enjoys band activities and taekwondo.
I try not to let the school limit his learning experience and so far it's working fine.
He's finishing 6th grade this year and we've got 6 more years to go!

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I was in the gifted program at school. Although I liked parts of it (we got to do a lot of stupid things that the teachers thought were good for gifted kids to do, like play games), overall I despised it. We were expected to do certain things. When I refused to go on the archeological dig, they sent me to the office for discipline. I just looked at the principal and asked if they were really serious that this is an offense to be sent to the office for. He just kind of laughed and sent me on my way. I also remember one girl who didn't get into the gifted program who was so mad at me for getting in. She was very upset that *I* made it and *she* didn't. Whatever. Drama. I'm not sure what all it actually does for the child that makes it worth singling them out. I don't think I really got anything out of it. Of course, that was decades ago...LOL Maybe things have changed. It was at the beginning of the whole "gifted" program.

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Our school system switched from having "Gifted and Talented" designations and centers to having "Advanced Academic Program" centers and programs. A child could be immensely gifted and talented at things other than academics, so that change accounts for that distinction. My daughter is at an AAP center where all her classwork, all the time, is at a more challenging level than if she were in a regular classroom for her grade, and all the other kids in the class are also working at that level. It's vital that kids who are academically advanced get the challenges to keep them interested in learning and keep them from being bored. So to answer your question, I think the "label" is good if it gets kids the services they need to succeed. But the AAP designation is more in line with the idea that kids who are not necessarily academically ahead can be gifted. The problem now is....with budget cuts in our schools, the kids who are artistically gifted may see art classes cut back or eliminated; the kids who are musically gifted may see music classes cut back or eliminated; the kids who are gifted at drama -- well, there's no drama at all in elementary school, so forget them, I guess. It's a pity.

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I haven't read any other response. My oldest is in the gifted program at our school. Once a week he goes to the gifted center and gets to be with his peers and they do work that is above the kids in his regular class. I think it is a great label to have. It keeps him working hard and he is proud that he is in gifted.

Also as a gifted child the school HAS to make sure he is getting the homework and class work that he needs. He has an GIEP (gifted iep).

I am proud that my son is gifted and will make sure that he gets what he needs so that he can be anything he wants.

Also my 2nd son was only a few points away from getting it . And he was fine with it. He is smart enough to know that it is a test and somedays you do better on a test then others. He is getting retested in a couple weeks.

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GT is just a label. Those children are not truly gifted. They are bright. So are many of the other kids who aren't labeled GT. Children who are truly gifted are not gifted in all areas.
I never allowed my children to be tested or to be placed in any of the GT classes. When they got to high school, they took the AP classes and the honors classes -- just like the GT kids. Guess who got the free ride to college on an ROTC scholarship? Not the GT kid who applied... mine did. Guess who got the academic scholarship at college? Not the GT kid... mine.
LBC

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my niece is "gifted". i would say that on average these kids are booksmart and able to retain well. however, the ones that i have been around (for 17years) they are much less "street smart", they are very immature. i live in fl and where we live from the time these kids are in kindergarden or first grade, they seperate them from all the other kids. they only see eachother until they get to highschool. and then that's who they stay with. they also all through elementary school only get extra work, not "gifted". i had the offer to have my daugther tested in kindergarden, and i chose not to because i didn't want her being isolated like that.

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yeah, i don't like the labels. a kid who is gifted at language arts may well not be in math, and a kid who isn't academically 'gifted' may be incredibly empathetic or mechanically inclined. gifted labels tend to inflate egos (usually more the parents' than the kids') and create unrealistic expectations, just as 'special slows' (thank you, up the down staircase!) sets the bar too low for other kids.
that's what i love about montessori, waldorf and other child-led curricula (or no curriculum at all.)
khairete
S.

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You have to read Nurtureshock, by Po Bronson. There is an entire chapter devoted to this subject. According to the studies that the author cites to, kids might be gifted in kindergarten, but then not so gifted later on, but they often remain in the gifted program because the kids are not routinely retested. In the meantime there could be other extraordinarily smart and talented kids who took a while to mature, so they missed the opportunity to get into the gifted program. I think the point is that many kids have the potential to qualify for gifted status, it's just a matter of when they were tested. Your friend who had her kid retested, I wonder what would happen if she had her child tested again in a year?
Keep engaging and challenging your kids. I can't think of what benefit there is to telling a child that he/she is gifted. I was in the gifted & talented program in my school and frankly I thought it meant that I didn't have to try as hard (because I was naturally gifted!), so I didnt'. I had 2 friends in college who told me they had felt isolated and weird being in gifted and talented (GT). They equated intelligence with being different, even odd. I guess every kid reacts to it a little differently. I can understand wanting your kid to be challenged, and wanting him to reach his full potential, so I certainly understand why parents choose to have their kids tested. Definitely check out the book though, it's a quick & interesting read :)

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So, a thousand years ago, when I was in Elementary, my parents sent me to a small, private school for "gifted" children. I think we had to be tested before we went to "prove" we were gifted. Gosh, snobby much? - LOL that paragraph just sounds soooooo wrong when I read it.

Anyhoo, 30 odd years later, I don't see any difference in the achievements of myself and my school mates than children not labeled "gifted". I do remember that we seemed very smart - but I had no comparison until high school and there were many "smarter" students there. I do know that we were sheltered more than our public school contemporaries - rather like being educated in a bubble. We came out of Elementary with above average reading levels, and some higher than average test scores, but being labeled gifted was a matter left behind once we left 8th grade. Some of us girls went to the same High School and were teased about coming from the "gifted" school for awhile - then that faded away like so many Elementary School memories.

My son was tested for accelerated programs when he was in elementary school - he purposefully tanked the test because, as he said "I see how much homework my friend "D" has in the program, I don't want to take those classes". He tanked soooo bad, that had the administration not known him, he would have been put in special education classes.

Is he "gifted"? I don't know, and I don't care. He his my boy, I know he is smart, I know that he will achieve what he wants to achieve IF he puts his mind to it. Like everyone else.

Funny thing though, recently a bunch of us "gifted" kids "found" each other on FB - there is now a movement afoot to have a re-union. I think I will ask them your question when we all get together.

God Bless

1 mom found this helpful

My friends son was labeled GT at the beginning of 3rd grade and moved up so completely skipped 3rd grade. He just graduated from HS at 17. My daughter who was in the same class, has always done well in school. She mentioned to my friends son that she scored a 31 on her ACT, first try, no test prep other than what little they did at school. My friends son responded, wow, I scored a 26 my first try and a 28 my second. Now tell me, who would be considered the GT. My daughter attends a much smaller school than my friends son, (27 in her class) and small schools can't offer the broad variety of classes, but her school does a very good job at teaching the basic subjects. So I agree GT is a label and I think it is more of a ego trip for the parents than a service to the kids. My friend says now that she wishes that she had never let the school move her son up a grade.

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HI D., I don't have an answer for you but appreciate your question. My daughter missed the "gifted" label by 2 points on one of the sections, then didn't finish the other parts. I wasn't surprised, she was going through a phase where she wasn't completely attending to her work at school. She's back on track now and the way I look at it there would be yet more activities for her if she had made the "gifted program" and I'm not sure I want her to have more until she's solidly and consistantly completing everything. I beleive I can have her tested again next year. It's not really clear what it all means here either and someone mentioned a connection with AP classes in Middle school.

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I was a gifted student... I am sure my daughter, when she is older could easily fit into the same catagory...

The benefit to beng gifted is that "gifted" students can have unique challenges in school. The can be under-stimulated and under-challenged by coursework ... so they don't always stay engaged in class. I had a huge problem with turning in "everyday" homework assignments because I was bored and would forget about them and not do them... but I would still get 99% or 100% on my tests in most subjects. But with overall grades, I was close to failing at some points. When I was placed in the gifted program, my classes were more engaging, and so were the assignments, and I really excelled.

What was a problem for me, was that before I was labeled as "gifted"... I was recommended for special programs that were basically O. step above special education... looking at my grades alone I was doing poorly in school... so they wanted me to have extra help... the teachers in these special programs did seem to "improve" my grades... they kept track of my homework, and basically with a little 'manipulation'... they did all my work FOR me... eventually my mom pulled me from the program after realizing that I was basically doing nothing for hours on end... (hey there, I was a middle school girl... I wasn't necessarily the best "ethics wise" yet)

Gifted kids generally have the same curriculum as other kids... but the assignments are a lot more strenuous... They ask you to ask questions and seriously consider the answers. A gifted program... in my opinion, is better than skipping forward a grade, because gifted kids are often very intelligent, but may not be socially, emotionally, and physically as advanced as kids a year older.

-M.

By the way... a very average student can get straight A's with hard work... And a gifted child can usually do it with ease (if they really want to, and have enough motivation). However, gifted students are very often unbalanced... I was great with language, comprehension, critical thinking, social studies ... but I was TERRIBLE with math. I am now "average" as an adult as far as math goes... but I'll never be a mathematician! Also, "gifted-ness" made social relationships in school more challenging until I was later in high school... that was the other downside!

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There are pros and cons. You can read a lot about them on www.hoagiesgifted.com.

There are also good gifted programs and poor ones, programs that focus on achievement, and programs that focus on ability. There's busy work and there's meaningful work. Our school's program was pretty stinky.

I have intentionally kept my ds's IQ scores from him. He knows he's smart. I don't feel he has the maturity to handle knowing just how smart he's capable of being.

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The special ed connotation is what I always thought based on my own schooling experience. My junior high and high school had such a program, and the kids in it were mostly developmentally delayed.

I think this connotation is a generational thing. In public schools in the 70's and 80's, gifted is what they at one time apparently called the programs for special needs kids with serious developmental delays, so as to not stigmatize them. So hence, many people of a certain age group will probably look at you strangely if you suggest you want this label for your child and they seem to have no apparent developmental problems.

I'm not sure when the term began being associated with acclerated learners. But apparently, now it is.

I personally think if you have a child who is a quick learner and has above average intelligence, you'd be better off testing him out of his grade than trying to get him a label. Labels, whether good or bad are just that....labels. And more often than not, labels can be damning.

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I was in GATE as a kid. I thought it was great! I was challenged and enjoyed being in a faster-paced classroom (no slowing down for slow learners, as in the regular class).

Just a couple of complaints:
1. You got a broad "gifted" label, even if you weren't really strong in certain subjects. So, while I excelled in English and French, I wasn't very good at math and science. I was still on the fast track in high school in those subjects, taking classes a full year ahead of other kids. I really had no business taking advanced math and science classes. By junior year, I had been moved back into regular math and science classes.

2. There was also a lot of pressure to excel. By junior year, you had to maintain an A in GATE/honors classes or they'd move you down to the regular class.

Our son will likely be tested next year in third grade for GATE but there isn't too much advantage to it. With all of the budget cuts in California, we're down to just one elementary in the district with GATE and it's on the other end of town (not sure why when the best schools are on our side of town, but that's another story ...). The advantage would be that he'd be on track to start GATE in junior high, where they do have GATE nearby. I have no issues at all with the label. Our son has a variety of special needs conditions anyway, so we're used to labels ... might as well enjoy a positive one this time!

1 mom found this helpful

I think there is two sides to it as well. Both of my kids have tested "academically talented" or AT for short for our school system's math and reading programs. I was also in a "gifted" program throughout school. It is good in that they are provided with more critical thinking work than they would encounter in a normal classroom and this can expand their knowledge and challenge them. They get to learn about things that they might not experience as much back in their "normal" classroom. And it helps to keep them interested and not bored.
Flip side: I have seen the label make kids act like self promoting brats who think the are superior to classmates. I have seen kids who maybe barely passed the test struggle with the work and thus their outlook and love of school was ruined.
I don't think it is a negative label, but I do think that it is a case by case situation. My kids know that they are smart, but they also know that doesn't make them better than anyone else. And as smart as you may be, there is always going to be someone out there that is smarter at a subject or better at a sport etc than you and that should make us all humble and equal. We all have strengths. It might be "academics" or sports or communication or artistic creativity and I think that the schools should recognize and encourage each equally.

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